Frumenty (Wheat Porridge)

TO MAKE FRUMENTE
Tak clene whete and braye yt wel in a morter tyl þe holes gon of; and seþe it til it breste in water. Nym it vp & lat it cole. Tak good broþ & swete mylk of kyn or of almand & tempere it þerwith. Nym ȝelkes of eyren rawe & saffroun & cast þerto; salt it; lat it nauȝt boyle after þe eyren ben cast þerinne. Messe it forth with venesoun or with fat motoun fresch.
The Forme of Cury 1.

To make Frumenty
Take clean wheat and smash it well in a mortar until the hulls are gone, and boil it in water until it bursts. Take it up and let it cool. Take good broth and sweet cow or almond milk, and mix it therewith. Take yolks of eggs and saffron and cast thereto, and salt it. Do not let it boil after the eggs be cast therein. Serve it forth with venison or fat, fresh mutton.

The text of the original recipe comes from Curye on Inglysch, edited by Constance Hieatt and Sharon Butler.

Frumenty, or furmenty, was a staple of medieval kitchens. As the recipe above suggests, in England particularly it was served with venison. It does make an excellent accompaniment to any meat dish with a good sauce, as the frumenty absorbs the sauce well. It is a very filling dish, and can be made sweet with the addition of sugar and dried fruits.

Ingredients

160g (1 cup) bulgur 2 egg yolks
500mL beef, chicken or vegetable stock 1/4 tsp saffron, crushed
500mL milk or almond milk 1 tsp salt

Method

  1. Put the bulgur, stock, milk and saffron in a pot and bring to the boil.
  2. Reduce the frumenty mix to a simmer, and cook until most of the liquid has been absorbed (this will take around half an hour). Stir it occasionally to ensure it doesn’t stick.
  3. Keeping the heat very low, add the egg yolks and salt and stir well to heat through.
  4. Can be served hot, or at room temperature, as an accompaniment to a meat dish or a side dish by itself.

This recipe is very similar to the one found in Pleyn Delit (78).

Notes

  • Bulgur is made by crushing and boiling wheat grains – thereby eliminating a lot of pounding wheat in a mortar.
  • Frumenty could also be made with barley (Hieatt et al, 1996, 47).
  • The bulgur will swell to at least four times the size when cooked – remember to take this into account when menu planning.
  • The “fresh mutton” mentioned in the original recipe refers to recently butchered mutton, rather than salted, preserved mutton.
  • If your frumenty is too sloppy, you are probably using too much cooking liquid. It’s better to use slightly less and top up if in doubt.

Frumenty

Further Reading

Click on the links below to buy direct from The Book Depository.

Hieatt, Constance and Butler, Sharon (1985). Curye on Inglysch.
Hieatt, Constance, Hosington, Brenda and Butler, Sharon (1996). Pleyn Delit.

Advertisements

Chicken Dumplings

193 Wie man kaponerkrapfen machen soll
Nempt das bret von 2 hennen, wens gesoten jst, hackt es fein, nempt ain barmisankesß geriben darúnder vnnd gilbts
vnnd rierts dúrchainander/ jr solt aúch múscatblie vnnd pfeffer dareinthon, macht darnach ain taig an/ macht ain
tinnen blatz vnnd thiet die obgeschribne fille daraúff vnnd formierts zú ainem krapfen vnnd dient die 2 zipffel zúsamen/ siedts jn ainer fleschbrie wie hert gesottne air vnnd gebts warm.
Das Kuchbuch der Sabina Welserin’

193 How to make chicken dumplings
Take the meat from two chickens. After it is cooked chop it finely, mix grated Parmesan cheese in with it and color it yellow and stir it together. You should also put mace and pepper into it. After that prepare a dough. Make a thin flat cake and put the above described filling on it and form it into a dumpling and join the two ends together. Cook it in broth as long as for hard- boiled eggs and serve it warm.

The text of the original recipe can be found here.

The translation is by Valoise Armstrong, and can be found here.

Chicken was the most commonly consumed poultry in Germany, and there are many recipes for it in German cooking manuscripts (Bach, 2017, 139). These delicate morsels are rather like chicken and cheese ravioli. I’ve also eaten them as a soup, with the dumplings served in the cooking broth.

Ingredients

500g chicken meat, raw or cooked (see notes) 1/2 tsp pepper
250g parmesan cheese 1/4 tsp mace
1 packet of wonton wrappers (see notes) 1/4 tsp saffron threads
1.5L chicken stock 1/2 tsp salt

Method

  1. Shred the chicken finely with a fork or a food processor, and finely grate the parmesan.
  2. Soak the saffron threads in boiling water, which should turn deep orange.
  3. in a bowl, combine the chicken, cheese, salt, spices and saffron water and mix well. This is easiest done with the hands.
  4. Place a spoonful of the mix into the middle of a wonton wrapper. Rub the edges of the pastry with water, then fold the wrapper into a dumpling shape and press to seal. Use more water as necessary.
  5. Bring the stock to a boil, then add the dumplings to cook through. They are cooked when they rise to the surface of the stock (which will take around 5 minutes).
  6. If you are serving the dumplings as dumplings, cook and serve immediately, otherwise they will stick together before they can be eaten.
  7. Serve warm.

Notes

  • Although the recipe specifies cooked chicken meat, we found making the dumplings with cooked chicken made the end result rather dry and tough – the raw chicken which then cooked in the wrapper was much more flavoursome.
  • If you want to try and make your own dumpling wrappers, the fair paste recipe made into a thin pasta would be a good basis. I’ve just never gotten a flour and water pasta that eats as well as a commercially made wonton wrapper.
  • The dumplings can be made ahead of time and then frozen. They will cook from frozen, but will take longer to cook.

Chicken dumplings
Served as dumplings….

Chicken dumpling soup
… or served as soup!

Further Reading

Click on the links below to buy direct from The Book Depository.
Bach, Volker (2017). The Kitchen, Food and Cooking in Reformation Germany.

Bohemian Peas

Bemisch erbis zú machen
Nim 3 lot erbis, seuds trucken, das sý nit zú nasß send, vnnd stoß woll jm morser, das sý fein miessig werden, thú gúten wein daran/ thú jmber, rerlen, pariskerner vnnd zucker, gib es kalt, beses mit zúcker, jst ain gút herrenessen.
Das Kuchbuch der Sabrina Welserin’

149 To make Bohemian peas
Take one and a half ounces of peas, cook them until dry, so that they are not too wet, and pound them in a mortar, so that they become a fine mush. Put good wine on them, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and sugar. Serve it cold, sprinkle it with sugar. It is a good and lordly dish.

The text of the original recipe can be found here.

The translation is by Valoise Armstrong, and can be found here.

Peas were an important crop throughout medieval Europe. They can be fed to animals as well as people, and can also be dried, so they are a food source year round. Dishes such as this, where peas are cooked with expensive ingredients like spices and sugar to create “lordly” dishes, are found throughout medieval Europe.

Ingredients

500g peas 1/2 tsp ginger
125mL white wine 1/2 tsp cinnamon
75g sugar 1/4 tsp cardamom

Method

  1. Put the peas in a pot with just enough water to cover them, then cook, uncovered, until the water has disappeared. Set them aside to cool.
  2. Pound the peas to mush in a mortar and pestle or a food processor.
  3. Grind the spices to powder, and add to the pea mush with the wine and half of the sugar, and mix well.
  4. Transfer the peas to a serving dish, and sprinkle with the rest of the sugar. Serve cold.

Notes

  • Cardamom pods are either black or green – you split the pod open to extract the seeds, which are the spice. It has a wonderful scent. I recommend tracking down the pods rather than ready ground cardamom, as it loses its flavour and smell very quickly.
  • If possible, track down whole dried ginger which has to be grated before use. This is the way ginger would have been purchased in the medieval period, and it has a far more powerful flavour and scent.

Bohemian peas

To Preserve Fruit (Fruit Jam)

To Preserve Plums or Gooseberries
Take to every pound of plums a pound of suger, then beat it small, & put so much water to it as will wet it, then boyle it till it bee sugar againe, then put in the plums, & let them boile very softlie, till they be doone, then when they bee cold put them up, if they begin to grow then set them where fire is in a cupboard; you may doe respis this way & gooseberries, but you must boyle them verie soft, & not put them up till they bee cold, & likewise may Cherries be doone as your gooseberries & respis.
Elinor Fettiplace’s Receipt Book, ed. Hillary Spurling.

To Preserve Plums or Gooseberries
Take to every pound of plums a pound of sugar, then beat it small, & put so much water to it as will wet it, then boil it until it be sugar again, then put in the plums, & let them boil very softly, until they be done, then when they be cold put them up, if they begin to grow then set them where fire is in a cupboard; you may do raspberries this way & gooseberries, but you must boil them very soft, & not put them up until they be cold, & likewise may cherries be done as your gooseberries & raspberries.

This recipe is quite different to a modern jam recipe – first you create a sugar syrup, set it to a candy, then add the fruit and gradually dissolve the candy into a syrup again. The fruit then melds into the sugar syrup, creating the jam. It takes time and patience, because you DON’T want the fruit and syrup to boil, however the flavour is far superior to modern jams, and you don’t have boiling mixes spitting on the stove.

Along with some friends, I have made this recipe using mulberries, strawberries, blackberries and raspberries.

Ingredients

450g fruit 450g caster sugar

Method

  1. Put the sugar in a heavy bottomed saucepan and add just enough water to turn the sugar to a stiff paste – it should not be too wet.
  2. Put the pan of sugar paste onto a low heat, and stir it until the sugar is dissolved. Then leave the sugar syrup to heat to 115°C. Give the pan a good jiggle and stir to set the sugar syrup to a candy. Allow to cool completely. You will end up with a solid mass of candy in the base of the pan.

    Set sugar syrup

  3. Meanwhile, cut the fruit into small pieces and set aside.
  4. When the sugar candy is completely cold, put the pan back onto a low heat and pour the fruit on top.
  5. Give the sugar candy and fruit an occasional stir to allow the fruit and sugar to mix. DO NOT LET IT BOIL.

    Adding the fruit to the sugar

  6. To test when the jam is set, put a small amount onto a cold plate and tip the plate. If the mix is very runny, leave it to cook a little longer. Otherwise, remove from the heat and allow the jam to cool.
  7. Pour the jam into sterilised jars and store in a cool place.

Notes

  • The weights of fruit and sugar given are only guides – you can make this recipe with more or less fruit. The important thing is to have equal weights of fruit and sugar.
  • Elinor Fettiplace’s instruction “to boile” can be quite confusing. Often she actually means “simmer,” and you generally have to work out the meaning from the context. Because she specifies “boile very softlie” in this instance, she is talking about simmering in this case.
  • If using a low pectin fruit such as raspberries, you will get a better final set if you use juice from the fruit to make the initial sugar candy rather than water.
  • If you’ve made jam using a modern recipe, not boiling the jam mix may not seem as though it will work. However, it actually gives you a far better result, though it does take time and patience to get a set. Pectins are released from the fruit at 70°C, rather than boiling point. But because the mix doesn’t boil, none of the fruit flavour is lost through evaporation (Spurling, 2011, 129). So you wind up with a jam that is a little more runny than typical modern jams, but has a much more intense fruit flavour.
  • Lady Elinor’s instruction to “set them where fire is in a cupboard” “if they begin to grow” refers to instructions to follow if the jam starts to get mouldy. She means to put the jam pots in a cupboard with a slatted bottom over a fire, where the heat and smoke will prevent mould from forming (Spurling, 2011, 129).

Tudor jam
Left: mulberry jam. Right: strawberry jam.

Further Reading

Click on the links below to buy direct from The Book Depository.
Spurling, Hilary (2011). Elinor Fettiplace’s Receipt Book.

Cheese Balls

Wiltú kesßkiechlen bachen
So reib ain gar gúten kesß barmisan, thú ain geriben semelbrot darein, bis er gar tick wirt, darnach schlag air darain, bis es ain feins taiglin wirt, darnach mach rúnde kigellen wie die briete kiechlen jn derselben gressin vnd lasß langsam bachen, so send sý gemacht.
Das Kuchbuch der Sabina Welserin’

96 If you would make cheese buns
Then grate an especially good Parmesan cheese and put grated white bread thereon, until it becomes very thick. Afterwards beat eggs into it, until it becomes a good dough. After that make good round balls, the same size as scalded buns, and let them fry very slowly, then they are ready.

The text of the original recipe can be found here.

The translation is by Valoise Armstrong, and can be found here.

Little balls of cheesey goodness! These are quite rich. Parmesan cheese was an imported luxury, so these cheese balls would have been reserved for special occasions (Bach, 2017, 163).

Ingredients

125g grated Parmesan cheese 2 eggs
100g bread crumbs Salt

Method

  1. In a bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix well. This is easiest done with the hands.
  2. Form the mix into small balls about the size of walnuts, and flatten slightly.
  3. Heat some oil in a frypan, then fry the balls until the outsides are golden.
  4. They can be served hot or cold.

Notes

  • A large, cylindrical cheese similar to a modern Parmigiano Reggianois depicted in C14 illuminations, and financial ledgers and literature indicates it was in demand throughout Europe from this time. This is not surprising, given that the relative dryness and higher salt content of a good parmesan cheese makes it easy to transport long distances without spoiling (Kindstedt, 2012, 155-157).
  • The original recipe referred “scalded buns” (kiechlen) to size the cheese balls. This is recipe 142 in Sabina Welserin’s cook book, and they appear similar to small pancakes. You could probably make the cheese balls thinner than shown below.

Cheese balls

Further Reading

Click on the links below to buy direct from The Book Depository.
Kindstedt, Paul (2012). Cheese and Culture.
Bach, Volker (2017). The Kitchen, Food and Cooking in Reformation Germany.

Mounchelet (Veal and Onion Pottage)

MOUNCHELET.
Take Veel oþer Moton and smite it to gobettes seeþ it in gode broth. cast þerto erbes yhewe [2] gode wyne. and a quantite of Oynouns mynced. Powdour fort and Safroun. and alye it with ayren and verious. but lat not seeþ after.
The Forme of Cury 18.

MOUNCHELET.
Take veal or mutton and smite it into gobbets. Seethe it in good broth. Cast thereto chopped herbs and good wine, and a quantity of minced onions, powder fort and saffron, and thicken it with eggs and verjuice. But let it not seethe after.

The text of the original recipe comes from Curye on Inglysch, edited by Constance Hieatt and Sharon Butler.

Veal was eaten most commonly in the spring, as part of the end of Lent (Wilson, 2003, 88); households with the means and inclination would slaughter at least one male calf in the spring to obtain rennet for cheese (Wilson, 2003, 151). Mutton could be obtained at any time of the year, but is quite hard to find today. If using veal, remember it is quite lean and in general will not need much cooking.

Ingredients

500g veal 250mL red wine
500mL beef stock 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 onions (around 400g) 1/4 tsp ground cloves
5 tbs minced herbs 1/4 tsp ground saffron
2 eggs 60mL verjuice

Method

  1. Shred the veal, and finely slice the onions.
  2. Put the stock, wine, meat, onions, herbs and spices into a pot and bring to the boil. Simmer until the meat is cooked.
  3. Whisk together the eggs and the verjuice. Add a ladleful of the pottage liquid to the egg mixture, and whisk in.
  4. Remove the pottage from the heat, and add the egg mixture. Stir well to completely incorporate the egg and cook it.

Notes

  • “Powder fort” is a spice mix that translates to “strong powder.” Hieatt and Butler suggest pepper and cloves (Hieatt and Butler, 1985, 208-209).
  • I used a mix of sage, oregano and thyme in the pottage. These are all herbs that can stand being cooked without losing their flavour, go well with beef and were available in period.
  • Adding a ladleful of stock to the eggs before adding the eggs to the pottage brings the temperature of the eggs up and ensures they won’t curdle when added to the pottage.
  • As the recipe specifies, DO NOT LET THE POTTAGE REBOIL AFTER THE EGGS ARE ADDED. This would cause the eggs to curdle and split rather than incorporating into the pottage broth.
  • If you are lucky enough to find mutton, it will probably need to be cooked a lot longer to make the meat tender, as mutton comes from older sheep.

Mounchelet - C14 English veal stew.

Further Reading

Click on the links below to buy direct from The Book Depository.
Hieatt, Constance and Butler, Sharon (1985). Curye on Inglysch.
Wilson, C. Anne (2003). Food and Drink in Britain.

Aquapatys (Braised Garlic)

AQUAPATYS.
Pill garlec and cast it in a pot with water and oile. and seeþ it, do þerto safroun, salt, and powdour fort and dresse it forth hool.
The Forme of Cury 77.

AQUAPATYS.
Peel garlic and cast it in a pot with water and oil and seethe it, do thereto saffron, salt, and powder forte and dress it forth whole.

The text of the original recipe comes from Curye on Inglysch, edited by Constance Hieatt and Sharon Butler.

Garlic as a side dish! Foods such as garlic were regarded primarily as peasant food, however the presence of oil (presumably olive oil), saffron and the spice mixture powder fort makes this super luxurious garlic. You might be concerned about eating whole garlic, however boiling the garlic removes the enzymes that give it the sharp taste and cause the garlic breath. It becomes very soft and quite sweet.

Ingredients

2 whole garlic bulbs 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 cup water 1/4 tsp ground cloves
15 mL olive oil 1/4 tsp ground saffron
1/2 tsp salt

Method

  1. Break apart the garlic bulbs into individual cloves, and peel them.
  2. Put the garlic, oil and water into a pot, and bring to the boil. Cook the garlic until it is soft, around 10 minutes.
  3. Strain the garlic, arrange on a platter and sprinkle over the spices and salt.
  4. Serve warm.

Notes

  • “Powder fort” is a spice mix that translates to “strong powder.” Hieatt and Butler suggest pepper and cloves (Hieatt and Butler, 1985, 208-209).
  • To make this more luxurious, you could use chicken stock to cook the garlic. I suspect the original recipe specifies water to make this recipe suitable for fish days.

Aquapatys - C14 recipe of garlic as a vegetable

Further Reading

Click on the links below to buy direct from The Book Depository.
Hieatt, Constance and Butler, Sharon (1985). Curye on Inglysch.